Rookie On Backing Up. HELP!!!!

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RedKnight's Comment
member avatar

Started CDL school on May 14th, past the written, finished classroom, finished range labs (air checks, pre-trips, coupling / uncoupling) now went out on the range for the first time yesterday and introduced to backing up. PLEASE someone tell me this gets better. Granted, it was the first time in my life, but I had no idea how hard it was. I assume it gets easier, but any tips from you folks would surely be appreciated. I've been pre-hired by Schneider for a dedicated regional position right after graduation, but after yesterday, a little worried. I was on you tube for like an hour yesterday looking at backing up videos, they make it look so easy.

Thanks in advance.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

Pre-hire:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
member avatar

Started CDL school on May 14th, past the written, finished classroom, finished range labs (air checks, pre-trips, coupling / uncoupling) now went out on the range for the first time yesterday and introduced to backing up. PLEASE someone tell me this gets better. Granted, it was the first time in my life, but I had no idea how hard it was. I assume it gets easier, but any tips from you folks would surely be appreciated. I've been pre-hired by Schneider for a dedicated regional position right after graduation, but after yesterday, a little worried. I was on you tube for like an hour yesterday looking at backing up videos, they make it look so easy.

Thanks in advance.

It will get easier. Unless your a natural at backing it will take practice. Taking your time and not hitting anything is the main goal of backing.

You may see in the future people that can backup a truck over an idle speed and they are only showing off. Don't be like them. Slow is the key to backing. Just remember straight line backing you always turn the wheel towards the problem while looking in the mirrors and use both mirrors. If backing makes you fearful then you should get use to it. That is a good thing. Don't loose that fear of hitting something. Embrace the fear cause it will keep you safe and help you not hit anything.

Not sure where you are in school but if possible go the extra step and try and get more backing time. During lunch or maybe after the day is done if an instructor wants to give you the extra help. The more times you do it the easier it will get.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

Pre-hire:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

RedKnight's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

Started CDL school on May 14th, past the written, finished classroom, finished range labs (air checks, pre-trips, coupling / uncoupling) now went out on the range for the first time yesterday and introduced to backing up. PLEASE someone tell me this gets better. Granted, it was the first time in my life, but I had no idea how hard it was. I assume it gets easier, but any tips from you folks would surely be appreciated. I've been pre-hired by Schneider for a dedicated regional position right after graduation, but after yesterday, a little worried. I was on you tube for like an hour yesterday looking at backing up videos, they make it look so easy.

Thanks in advance.

double-quotes-end.png

It will get easier. Unless your a natural at backing it will take practice. Taking your time and not hitting anything is the main goal of backing.

You may see in the future people that can backup a truck over an idle speed and they are only showing off. Don't be like them. Slow is the key to backing. Just remember straight line backing you always turn the wheel towards the problem while looking in the mirrors and use both mirrors. If backing makes you fearful then you should get use to it. That is a good thing. Don't loose that fear of hitting something. Embrace the fear cause it will keep you safe and help you not hit anything.

Not sure where you are in school but if possible go the extra step and try and get more backing time. During lunch or maybe after the day is done if an instructor wants to give you the extra help. The more times you do it the easier it will get.

Guy, thanks for the encouragement and advice, I sincerely appreciate it. I've been following you on TruckingTruth since I started looking into this career, and your input has always been a great help. Thanks again.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

Pre-hire:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Yep's Comment
member avatar

1. Remember you need to turn the wheel before it gets to the point you want it to be at. It takes time fore the trailer to respond.

2. if people get in a hissie fit, consider showing them your four-figure-minus bird.

3. Dont wing it, plan it out ahead of time.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Ernie S. (AKA Old Salty D's Comment
member avatar

One key I always found that helped me is put your hand at the bottom of the steering wheel. When you have to turn, use that hand to make the initial turn. You will notice that if you want the trailer to go right, you are actually turning the wheel left.

Always use small corrections (no more than about a 1/4 turn) until you see the trailer react. It will take a few seconds for this to happen, that is the main reason you want to be going slow as you back so that in case you made a wrong correction, you are not traveling very far and have time to respond as the situation dictates.

Hope this helps.

Ernie

RedKnight's Comment
member avatar

1. Remember you need to turn the wheel before it gets to the point you want it to be at. It takes time fore the trailer to respond.

2. if people get in a hissie fit, consider showing them your four-figure-minus bird.

3. Dont wing it, plan it out ahead of time.

Thanks Mason, appreciate the encouragement. I see I gotta a looooooong way to go.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

RedKnight's Comment
member avatar

One key I always found that helped me is put your hand at the bottom of the steering wheel. When you have to turn, use that hand to make the initial turn. You will notice that if you want the trailer to go right, you are actually turning the wheel left.

Always use small corrections (no more than about a 1/4 turn) until you see the trailer react. It will take a few seconds for this to happen, that is the main reason you want to be going slow as you back so that in case you made a wrong correction, you are not traveling very far and have time to respond as the situation dictates.

Hope this helps.

Ernie

It does indeed help Ernie, thanks. I think what might be making it more difficult is the range is slightly down hill. They want us to let out the clutch, go on the idling speed and keep our foot off the brake. It seems to fast though, maybe because we're on the downhill grade. But I like your idea of putting my hand on the bottom of the wheel. I'll try that next time out. Thanks again.

Heavy C's Comment
member avatar

One thing that I always found helpful was what Ernie said. It's small corrections. Let the trailer do the work. Going at it slowly gives you more time to make corrections in which way is going, plus it allows you to get the tractor back in front of the trailer faster (straighten out). Something I did at the range during the straight line back (after I mastered straight line ;) ) was to go backwards but purposely turned the wheel each direction to get used to which way the trailer would move. These weren't big movements mind you but it helped get my mind around which way the wheel should go to make the trailer go a certain way. I told my instructor I did this and he was fine with it because I was progressing fast enough. If you can, give it a shot. Good luck!

And yes it gets easier

Rico's Comment
member avatar

It takes time to develop an instinct for where the trailer will end up if you do X with the wheel. As you progress through the maneuvers you will learn, you will eventually realize that all backing is based on the straight line back. That means you need to master it quickly or you will run into more and more trouble as you move into the lane change, parallel park, 90 degree park, and 45 degree park.

The two biggest mistakes us newbies make when backing are turning the wheel in the wrong direction and over correcting. What I had to drill into my head is that turning the wheel in any direction will make the trailer turn in the opposite direction. Once that became something I knew without having to think about it, backing got much easier. Learning to not over correct is something that happens with time. Eventually you realize that it isn't necessary to turn that wheel so much to get the desired result. Yes, there are instances when you have to turn the wheel hard and fast to the right or left, but that's usually after you've already positioned the trailer to go where it needs to go and you are focused on parking the tractor.

Like others have pointed out, make small corrections. If you see the trailer starting to drift, turn your wheel a quarter turn in the direction of the drift and hold it there until the trailer responds. The truck will move ten feet before you see that happen. Then, when the drift has been corrected, go back to a straight wheel and hold it there until you see the trailer starting to drift again.

Also, don't be afraid of how fast the truck is backing up. Remember that you are on a closed course. These trucks do not go very fast at all when they're idling and in gear. It just seems like they are because you are not used to such a large vehicle. Let the clutch all the way out and plant your feet on the floor. You will have plenty of time to push the clutch in and step on the brake, should you need to.

Lastly, relax. I know the truck seems huge to you right now, but that will subside as you spend more time behind the wheel. Work on developing your sense of depth and distance while you are backing. Experiment with the wheel (turn it this way or that way) while looking in your mirrors. You will eventually begin to develop that instinct for knowing not only what the trailer is going to do, but also for where it will end up.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

RedKnight's Comment
member avatar

One thing that I always found helpful was what Ernie said. It's small corrections. Let the trailer do the work. Going at it slowly gives you more time to make corrections in which way is going, plus it allows you to get the tractor back in front of the trailer faster (straighten out). Something I did at the range during the straight line back (after I mastered straight line ;) ) was to go backwards but purposely turned the wheel each direction to get used to which way the trailer would move. These weren't big movements mind you but it helped get my mind around which way the wheel should go to make the trailer go a certain way. I told my instructor I did this and he was fine with it because I was progressing fast enough. If you can, give it a shot. Good luck!

And yes it gets easier

Thanks heavy, I will try what you and Ernie have suggested. I really appreciate your help.

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